Kishroniyah is one of our centerpiece programs for our Tzad Bet (B-Side) chanichim (campers). Kishroniyah comes from the Hebrew word kishron, which means skill. For one week each summer, we invite an array of high-level specialists into camp to run intense special programs for our older campers. Machon and Nivonim have 12 hours of Kishroniyah from Sunday-to-Wednesday, and Magshimim and Bogrim have 8 hours of Kishroniyah from Wednesday-to-Friday.
In our Mural Kishroniyah group, chanichim (campers) worked with visiting artist Tova Speter to design and create a colorful outdoor mural that will help beautify camp for years to come! Participants experienced the entire mural process from design conceptualization to priming to painting. This specialized arts workshop was designed to engage the chanichim in creating collaborative community art as they explore and develop their own artistic talents, skills, and interests.
Tova Speter is an artist, art therapist, art educator, and arts consultant based in Newton, MA. She specializes in working with adolescents, and has more than fifteen years of experience leading community mural projects in the greater Boston area and internationally in Argentina, China, Panama, and Israel. Find out more about Tova’s work (and see pics from past Ramah collaborations) at: www.tovaspeter.com. Tova also has a private practice offering art therapy and mental health counseling services; works as a consultant with congregations interested in exploring innovative ways to infuse more arts-based experiences into their programming; and is the founder and director of The MEM Project, a Boston-based venture that engages individuals through the artistic process as a means to explore Jewish identity and encourage connection with under-served communities through collaborative mural projects. Find out more about The MEM Project at www.thememproject.org.
Tova and the Mural Kishroniyah participants created this artists’ statement for our 2022 mural:
Shir Ramah, Kishroniyah Mural 2022
After brainstorming to come up with themes for this year’s mural, we decided the most important things we wanted to include involved ideas of tradition and change, elevation, and Shira (song); and then noticed that all of these elements are included in the Shir Ramah (Ramah song). The song is about the rise of a new day where things may have changed but are still filled with songs and smiles. Our mural is about that too.
The mural depicts the new Camp Ramah logo on the right, representing new beginnings as well as the rising sun. It is made up of many triangles in which you can also see a Jewish star, and we put some of the words of Shir Ramah in the center to show how important it is to us. Throughout the mural there are 18 (Chai) different triangles that are spiraling in the journey to help make up the logo, and each individual triangle represents a tradition at Ramah, new and old, which are meaningful to the campers. It is also a bit like a mosaic where every piece is important and each individual contributes to the whole. The triangle images transition from night scenes on the left to daytime scenes as they travel to the right. Everything is part of the cycle of time changing.
Triangles are the strongest shape and here they are representative of Ramah’s strong community. In math, Delta is a symbol for change, so the triangles are reflective of the strength and growth of Ramah. Along one of the lines of the spiral there are music notes that travel across multiple panels of the mural because Song (Shira) is another important theme that runs throughout our Ramah experience. The notes are the real transcribed version of the Birkat Hayeladim melody that we now sing on Friday nights as a new camp tradition. There are also music notes in a number of other triangle scenes as well, highlighting our love for singing at Seudat Shlishit, our nightime ritual of signing Rad Hayom, and at the medurah.
Starting from the left, we have an image of the havdalah candle being put out in a cup of grape juice as we acknowledge the change of the holiness of Shabbat to the rest of the week. It is the only time it is quiet at camp, everyone trying to hear the “tsssssssss” sound of the flame going out. We also showed our love of stargazing, which is a time a lot of us feel most connected to the world, to camp, and to each other. We sing Rad Hayom at night as we think of all of the edot and know that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We also included the tradition of Nivomin campers sitting in the middle of the Och during Seudat Shlishit as we sing together, and our love of Shira also comes out strong during medurah time at night.
We wanted to give space to three things that haven’t been featured so much on past murals but are important to our camp traditions including playing ultimate frisbee, the swing/alpine tower, and Yom Sport/color war (the tie dye triangle). They also all represent a kind of “elevation” which is one of the themes we brainstormed. Morning Tefillah is another longstanding camp tradition and we included the hand gestures from one of the songs rising above the siddur. Some of the triangles are a reference to different camp shirts, one is more recent (L’Ha-amin/Believe), one shows that change sometimes comes from madrichim (the fighting roo mascot was an idea that was once “new” but now is a longstanding tradition), and one shows the transition from new to old in the background color of the shirt (Not Ware).
Covid camp was a big part of this summer which we represented with a TV, mask and reminder to “be positive but test negative.” The farm, the “hit this” bunk, morning boating and yom avatiach (watermelon) all make us smile. Another new tradition that is showcased on the mural is Ramah’s connection with an Israeli program called Noam. This summer Noam sent 15 campers into Machon and there are hopes of continuing the tradition for many years to come so we represented Noam with a picture of their logo. Look around for other hidden elements in the mural including a reference to all of the old logos contained in different light sources. This mural is representative of Ramah 2022 inside and out.